Occupational physical activity across occupational categories

J Sci Med Sport. 2003 Dec;6(4):398-407. doi: 10.1016/s1440-2440(03)80266-9.


This study investigated the amount of physical activity that occurs during normal working hours, highlighting the occupational differences in physical activity by occupational category. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire (Tecumseh Occupational Physical Activity Questionnaire [TOQ]), which measures past year Occupational Physical Activity (OPA) and by a motion-sensing device (Yamax DigiWalker Pedometer SW - 700). Ninety male and female participants aged 18-62 years participated in the study. Participants were stratified by occupational category according to the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO), which was then condensed into professional, white-collar and blue-collar workers. The results showed significant (p < .05) increases in OPA from the professional category (least active) through to the blue-collar workers (most active) in terms of walking activity. Mean daily step counts were 2,835, 3,616 and 8,757 for professional, white-collar and blue-collar respectively. Occupational Physical Activity Scores and Work Activity Units (WAU) in MET - min x wk(-1) from the TOQ showed similar patterns, with blue collar reporting significantly (p < .05) more past year OPA than their white-collar and professional workers. Significant correlations were also shown between the pedometer (step-count data) and the TOQ (r = .38 - .74, p < .01).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Occupations / classification*
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Queensland
  • Sex Distribution
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Walking / physiology